“Yes.” I heard Drew say. My mind was wondering about what the possible loopholes could be. Did this mean that I wouldn’t be losing my soul after all? After five minutes of mindless explanations, I heard Drew calling my name.
“Hey! Hey! Are you still there? What happened?”
“Nothing.” I said glumly into the receiver. “Just getting my hopes up so that I’ll be good and disappointed as usual.
“Why don’t you try listening to me first and then see how you take the news before making any judgment calls in advance?” Drew questioned my logic.
“Fine. Let me have it.” I prepared myself for his explanations. Maybe I’ll only have to lose half my soul, I mused to myself.
“Sikal tricked you into using your magic, right?”
“Yeah, so?” I asked him. Was it possible that demonlords had rules too?
“Okay. So technically, he might have altered the course of fate….” Drew trailed off.
“True.” I agreed.
“You might not have ever used your magic if he hadn’t created an illusion where you felt the need to save someone.”
“Yes, Drew. I know all of this already. Can you just make your point? I’m tired and depressed and would like to spend some time enjoying my soul before he gets here to collect it.”
“Listen to me. No one is allowed to alter the course of fate. No one. No mortal who practices magic, no demonlord, not even the King of Magic. It goes against the order of the universe. No one is even supposed to chance altering it. So, because Sikal took the chance, he could be in huge trouble with the King of Magic. The kind of trouble that ends with Sikal burning for eternity. Do you understand what I’m saying?”
“No.” I said straight. “I see what you’re saying, but I don’t know where that leaves me. It’s not like I can set up a meeting with the King of Magic and complain about how the demonlords are being mean to their mortal charges. The King of Magic doesn’t have time for stuff like that and you know it, Drew.”
Disappointed and angry with myself, I hung up the phone. I instantly regretted it. I shouldn’t have been taking my emotions out on Drew who was just trying to help me. His plan seemed like complete bogus to me though and my narrow mind was only focused on me at the moment. Five minutes later the phone rang again.
“What!” I bit into the receiver. “I know I shouldn’t have hung up on you but I just can’t handle this right now, okay?”
“Not okay.” Drew snapped at me. I’d never heard Drew mad before and it frightened me a little.
“You need to shut up and listen to me for a couple of more minutes.”
“Fine.” I resolved. “My life is over in a few hours, what’s a couple more minutes on the phone with you?”
“You can challenge him. Make a bet with Sikal. As a demonlord, he’s prone to being arrogant and chauvinistic. Play on those qualities. Make a bet with him that you can beat him without your magic. If he wins, he gets your soul and you won’t tell the King. If you win, you get to keep your soul. If he won’t agree to the bet, then you’ll tell the King. It will work.” Drew explained his plan while I listened and tried to find flaws in it.
“You think that will really work? Who’s to say that Sikal won’t just kill me on the spot? He has that kind of power.” I pointed out what seemed obvious to me.
“He can’t. You really know nothing about demonlords, do you?” Drew asked surprised.
“Demonlords can’t kill their mortal charges; they spontaneously combust if they do. Sikal wouldn’t risk his own life over one soul.”
“How do you know so much about demonlords?” I asked Drew. When I first found out that a demonlord would have to test me in order to see whether or not I could keep magic a secret, I tried to do all the research I could on them. I wanted to know their strengths, their weaknesses. Heck, I wanted to know where they lived and what they ate for dinner. But I only found one book on demonlords and it was less than helpful. Drew, on the other hand, seemed to know more about the demonlords than Sikal probably did. It intrigued me and made me wonder what else I didn’t know about him.
“I’ve just picked stuff up over time. Small Freudian slips from Sikal and little tidbits from other mortals about their demonlords.” Drew explained carefully. I got the feeling that he wasn’t telling me everything but decided that now was not the time to push the issue.
“So I should challenge Sikal to a bet?” I asked, returning to the issue at hand.
“You should.” Drew confirmed.
“It sounds easier and safer just to let him take my soul.” I complained.
“It would be.” Drew admitted. “If you don’t value your soul at all.”
“I guess I do. Some.”
“Do you realize what you’d be without your soul?” Drew wanted to know.
“Um,” I hesitated. In reality, I had no clue what I would become when I lost my soul. Vampire don’t have souls, but I’m pretty sure that’s a whole different story. I realized that I didn’t know if a demonlord has a soul or not. What would I become without a soul? “A vampire?”
“I know. It was a silly answer, but I don’t know what I become.” I admitted.
“You would become a hollow shell. A demon. Servant to the demonlord who took your soul. Sikal would forever hold your soul in a vault and you would forever serve him. Is that what you want? To be stuck saying ‘yes, Sir’ to Sikal?” Drew’s speech was not raising my spirits any.
“No. I don’t want anything to do with Sikal.” I told him angrily. “Do you honestly think I want to lose my soul?”
“I don’t think you do. Which is why you need to make this bet with him. When he comes to take your soul, that’s when you throw the plan on him, got it?” He asked me.
“But what if he doesn’t listen to me and automatically steals my soul anyway?” I pointed out to Drew.
“I’ll be there with you.” He clarified and I found that I was actually reassured by the mere thought of Drew’s presence.
“Oh. Okay, I guess I’ll do it then.” I told Drew with a flicker of determination.
“Good. Now get some sleep. I’ll see you in a couple hours.” Drew said through the phone.
I hung up the phone and headed to bed. I was emotionally worn. A mixture of fear, rage, and depression was surging through my body making it hard for me to fall off to sleep despite the late hour of the night. I had a big day ahead of me and I was scared. Silently, I cursed the day I had started using magic and the tears that were starting to fall from my eyes. I hated crying and, that day, I seemed to keep finding my face soaked in the salt water from my own eyes.
Anthromagic by Crystal and Pamela MacLean is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.